Not having a building permit when doing renovations can have lasting repercussions, according to people in Sudbury’s construction industry.

Reminding people to get a building permit when doing renovations is something the Sudbury and District Home Builders Association’s Laura Higgs has to do time and again. Building permits are required for all jobs where the structure of a house is changed — anything from adding a window to building a deck.

Higgs said a lack of a building permit can cause problems when a house is sold.

"If the work is done incorrectly and they sell the house, there is the opportunity for the next owner to undertake legal action," Higgs said.

Local contractor Darren Champaigne has first-hand experience in a very similar situation.

He said he's working on a job where he discovered mould in the basement — mould that was caused by a plumbing leak that came about from the previous homeowners’ renovation project.

"These people totally renovated the basement and had no permits and everything was wrong," Champaigne said.

"So basically a $6,000 job [became] a $100,000 job. When you buy a house and there [are] no permits, you're basically taking on the responsibility."

Champaigne said the current homeowners are now considering suing the previous residents.

Higgs noted that permits are frequently overlooked for projects like decks and garages.

"There is a section of the population that believes they don't need a permit," Higgs said. "Either they're not aware that permits are required for certain types of jobs or they feel that it's a tax grab. So they will circumvent the process all together."

She noted the building services department with the city can intervene and stop construction work if the proper permit isn't in place.